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I'm a 55 yr old "only child" caring for my 84 yr old Mom who's in a senior's residence. She has rheumatoid arthritis (controlled with meds) and has been diagnosed with mixed dementia (Alzheimer's & vascular). She gets quite confused with days and time of day but her memory seems fine when it comes to calling me to blame me for just about everything . . . she seems mad at the world . . . instead of enjoying my visits with her it has become a burden . . .

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My mother has been a life long narcissist. She's 88 and been in a nursing home for 18 months with parkinsons, dementia and strokes. She's always been mad at the world. Even though she's been fortunate to have everything life could offer it was never good enough and everyone was beneath her. The tantrums, the ranting phone calls? Yep, been there, done that, changed my phone number because it was making me ill.

Last evening the NH called to say they'd found her on the floor (again). She tried to get from her wheelchair into bed, which she can't do by herself. She's always doing it and sooner or later there will be another broken hip and that will be the end of her.

As they helped her up she was complaining bitterly that there was nothing to do. At that moment there was a strawberry social and antique car show going on! I've tried, staff have tried and the social worker has tried but, nope, she just lays in bed, b*tches, complains and verbally bashes anyone within range. I dread going near her.
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I'm guessing you hit the nail on the head that she's "mad at the world". I know it's so hard to not take it personally, especially since she's being critical when you're trying to help her. As she recalls things from the day before (like you fixing her hair) she knows she's "losing it" and feels sad/fearful/angry. My mom is in a similar mental/emotional state. Being fully aware they're becoming totally dependent on others and can't do anything about it "requires" a scapegoat. Unfortunately, family members they see most frequently are most often the scapegoats. When they realize their mind isn't working right, and no matter what they do they can't fix it, the fear/anger must be overwhelming.

I am my mom's 24/7 caregiver. My family and I have moved into her house so that she can continue to live at home, enjoy some of the activities she's always liked, and to help her with her needs. I know exactly what it feels like to do something nice and have it "backfire"- like cooking a nice dinner and hear "This chicken tastes like processed lunch meat". It is so hard not to take it personally! TG for my husband, who smiles and winks at me, and later reminds me that my mom is not in her right mind, and her negativity is more about her depression and not about me. Now, if I could only absorb that like a sponge and remember that each time I get a pie in the face!

A lot of the critical nature has to do with the mom/daughter dynamic I think. Whatever that dynamic was earlier in life, it's hard not to continue some of the old mother-daughter relationship. I'm sure your right that your mom's upbringing about being "up to par" plays into her personality. My mom has always been critical. She is a retired English teacher, and fits that old stereotype perfectly! Maybe being critical of their daughters come naturally to most moms, I catch myself being overly-critical of my own daughter at times. Or maybe I just learned this from my mom, as she learned it from her mom and so on. Even though the relationship evolves from a parent-child to parent-adult child, I'm sure it's hard to accept that one's adult child is making the decisions about things they can't, so they almost "act out" like a child would reversing the roles totally.

Find some humor it situations when you can. It's helped me to not take my mom's comments to heart. So the next time your mom gives you the "once over", say "Oh no mom! I guess I should have worn my tan slacks with this outfit!" And just look her in the eyes, smile, and change the subject. Seriously, it changes the whole dynamic!
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I've read there's nothing worse than a critical Mother.I don't agree with that.But I do know that I feel better and do better with positive input. It is so hurtful, and frustrating. Last time I was home, my Mom as I walked toward her, started at my shoes and went up to my hair critiquing me. And then when I walked away, she did the same thing.(Then I finally talked to her about it). She's never been that bad. But she is 90 now. I understand now also. She was raised in the hills of Kentucky, and went to Girls School at a certain age. They taught everything. Etiquette, speech. She just tried to teach her children to be perfect. And I could care less!LOLPoor Mama
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Thanks, makes me fell good to know I'm not the only one . . . I realize at 55 (better late than never) that I have (had) a very narcissistic Mom . . . I spent my life trying to please her but there was always something she commented . . . my friends, my in-laws, things I enjoy . . . she has always been outspoken so imagine now . . . I do her hair once a week and she can call the next day asking me what shampoo I used cause her hair feels like steel . . . just an example . . . thanks again for listening . . . none of my friends seem to be going through this. Thank God for my daughter and grand kids . . . they keep me sane !!
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We have an 87 yr old with the same problem. So we take one phone call a day and don't answer after that. If the conversation turns to complaints, we tell her we have to go. Same with visits. Keep it real short, less than an hour, because she is glad to see us at first. When it turns to complaints, accusations and general misery, we excuse ourselves. We go no more than once a week. So sad we have to do this, but it's the only way to stay sane.
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